No 15-day break for India cricketers before IPL

Members of the Indian team, who have had a hectic season so far and will continue to play non-stop cricket through this year, are going to get very little break going into the Indian Premier League (IPL) that starts on April 9.

The India-England ODI series that ends on March 28 will signal the end of an exhausting four-month international calendar for India. During this period, India played two major opponents — Australia and England in full-fledged series.

However, within nine days of the ongoing ODI series finishing, India players will get into IPL mode, playing the lucrative but taxing tournament for over 50 days.

The Lodha Committee recommendations, which were tabled with a view to reform Indian cricket and sanitise the calendar, had suggested a 15-day gap between an international series and IPL, both at the start and at the end.

“The BCCI should ensure that at least 15 days gap is provided between the IPL season and the national calendar,” said the Lodha Committee’s recommendations.

Although it didn’t find its way into the BCCI constitution, it was largely accepted that the break would provide the much-needed relief to the exhausted India players and help in workload management of the cricketers.

But it has been rarely followed. While the 2020 IPL was rescheduled for later part of the year due to Covid-19 pandemic and players were able to get the necessary break due to no cricketing activities prior to the IPL and the quarantine in Australia post the tournament.

In 2019 though, there was again just a nine-day break before the IPL. The Committee of Administrators, which was in charge of the BCCI, had informed the Supreme Court that they were doing it in view of the general elections that year.

In 2018, however, the recommendations were followed and there was more than 15 days of break between the IPL and international series.

In 2017 though, it hadn’t been followed.

While the BCCI has given no reason for this, the tight scheduling of successive series due to the Covid-19 pandemic is believed to be the reason.